NFL and MRSA infections, curse of the locker room?

Posted Oct 13, 2013 by Tim Sandle
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Johnthan Banks has been sidelined with an MRSA infection. He isn't the first player this season to contract the 'locker room' infection.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers in action.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers in action.
flickr/ seng1011
Several Buccaneers football players have contracted MRSA infections, including place-kicker Lawrence Tynes and cornerback Johnthan Banks. The extent of the problem is such that team invited in the co-director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Center for advice and to explain the problem to the team.
MRSA is a strain of staphylococcus bacteria that is resistant to methicillin and certain first-line antibiotics called beta-lactams. The bacteria can cause serious infections of the skin, blood, lungs and bones. Infections with drug-resistant strains, like MRSA, can be particularly difficult to treat.
The common cause with the Buccaneers is thought to be locker room hygiene. Dr. Daniel Sexton, an infectious disease specialist in an interview with, has said that various actions can be taken to prevent the spread of the infection through simple things like washing hands and not shaving arms or legs. In addition, not sharing towels, cleaning weight-training and therapy equipment, or showering before entering whirlpools would all help to prevent the spread of the disease.
Also in relation to the Buccaneers it was announced this week that guard Carl Nicks, who contacted MRSA earlier this year, had suffered from a re-occurrence of the Staph infection.
The concern with MRSA has prompted the NFL to send out a private memo to all of its teams to be wary of the infection, according to USA Today. The risk of MRSA and football teams is not a new problem as the Atlantic Wire notes. In 2008, the Cleveland Browns also suffered a rash of MRSA infections amongst its players.